Leo Shum  


Oil painting / Extended painting  

How did you get your start as an artist? 

I drew a lot when I was a little kid with just a pencil and a piece of paper and I could draw for hours. That’s what felt right to do. So at age 7, I consulted with my parents and we decided that I should attend a painting academy to further my artistic practice. 

Name some projects/ collaborations you’re are currently working on and how these came about. 

I’ve spent the past 3 months working on a piece of digital integrated immersive painting. The urge to push the boundaries of what a painting can be in the modern day has been a recent focus. It started with just painting initially, then I began to want more -- wanting paint to go “up” the canvas and out of the canvas. Eventually I came to virtual reality painting with “more than occasional” help from the UNSW Makerspace I.T. staff, since I’m highly unfamiliar with the technology. The entire process consists of 3D modelling, laser cutting, 3D printing and a lot of hours wearing virtual reality goggles creating 3D paintings. 

Describe some of your favourite past works, and what made them meaningful. 

One of my favourite paintings would be ‘Lion Boy’ (2017). It is a series of paintings I made following by my grandfather’s passing. It is a very emotional series which has intricate symbols to represent every person, event and object in regard to what happened in the year. The paintings are highly influenced by surrealism, which makes very interesting paintings for viewers to see and interpret. 

Tell us a little bit about your creative process. 

As an artist, inspirations are what I’m constantly searching for. I keep all my ideas in a little sketch pad so that I can always go back and refine them later into a consistent vision. I usually start with multiple works at once so I don’t dwell on one and go crazy. 

What themes do you explore in your work? 

Where does art fit in this modern era? We live in an age where everybody gets to become an artist; art is no longer just objects on a white wall. I focus on making multi-dimensional art where paint no longer is limited to the inside of canvas -- it can break out of conventional frames, it can be immersive, where people can walk through and get a truly multisensory experience.  

Can you talk about your online presence? 

Recently, I created my online artistic website as a comprehensive digital gallery which also serves as my artist CV. It helps giving people a sense of who I am as an artist and what you do as an artist. Other than that, I have also set up an Instagram account and Facebook account so that more people in the world can access to my art making journey and a ‘behind the scenes’ at what goes into the final piece. They also include related functions and exhibitions where my art will be showcased. 

How do you view the role of social media to artistic practice? 

Social media is inherently important for artists nowadays both for the creative process and gaining an audience. With YouTube you can learn all kinds of methods and approaches to making art, including many niche techniques. Other social platforms like Instagram and Facebook help artists find a virtual space in this modern world for people to view, appreciate and enjoy. 

What are some other artists you love? 

I’m intrigued by a lot of surrealist painters and my favourite has got to be Salvador Dali. ‘The Persistence of Memory’ is one of his best paintings which got everybody intrigued and talking and analysing. Nearly everybody has a whole new interpretation of their own. 

What does the future hold for you? Which upcoming collaborations/projects are you most excited about and how do you see your practice developing? 

In November I will be part of the Nomad Collective organising and curating my own art show, where all of us from all fields of art get to exhibit our pieces or performances. There will be elements of painting, sculpture, virtual reality and augmented reality. 

You Might Be Interested In...

Style & Substance | S2

Andrina Manon

Lorelai Ivory